Athena Tritogenia Ritual
The third day of the month is sacred to Athena Tritogenia, as the symbolic day of Her birthday. It is also sacred to the Charites.
1. LIGHTING THE SACRED FLAME
Before the start of the ritual, light the incense and candle or oil lamp and recite Homeric Hymn #24:
“Hestia, you who tend the holy house of the lord Apollo, the Far-shooter at goodly Pytho, with soft oil dripping ever from your locks, come now into this house, come, having one mind with Zeus the all-wise — draw near, and withal bestow grace upon my song.”
Ritually declare that the space is pure for the festival and sacrifice to the gods by doing the following:
“hehKAHS, hehKAHS, ehSTAY bayBAYloy. Let the profane ones depart!”
Then take a sage stick, light it from the already blessed candle, and put it into the water, saying:
“kayr-NEEP-toe-may! Let this water be purified by the sacred fire!”
Circumambulate around the altar, stopping at the front of the altar. Then you sprinkle the altar, the offerings, and the people with khernips. As you sprinkle the water, say:
“O theoi genoisthe apotropoi kakon! O gods, turn away evils!”
The bowl is set away from the altar outside of the room, as it now ritually impure. The used water should be poured directly onto the earth outside the temenos after the ritual.
3. PRELIMINARY INVOCATION
“I first call to the gods to hear and attend my ritual. O Athanatoi (Deathless Ones), Gods of Starry Heaven, Broad Earth, And the Great Below, Khairete, Theoi! Hear, and attend. Bless me with your presence, as I would honor you.”
Pour out the following shares: First, to Hestia, who’s is always the first and the last, then Athena Tritogenia and the Charites.
Pour a libation out after saying each deity’s name. Say Be Well Disposed after each libation.
“Elthete Athene, Elthete Kharites, bless me with your presence, and partake of what I offer, in reverence of you. I offer (pure water/oil/sweet wine/fruits of the earth/fragrant incense/cakes of grain and honey/bright flowers/a hymn of praise/other) as sustenance for your heart. And with my prayers I entreat you: Watch over me and my family and sustain us. Look kindly on my efforts, for it is through you that I receive all blessings.” (adjust wording as you see fit)
I begin to sing of Pallas Athena, the glorious Goddess, bright-eyed,
inventive, unbending of heart,
pure virgin, saviour of cities,
courageous, Tritogeneia. Wise Zeus himself bare her
from his awful head, arrayed in warlike arms
of flashing gold, and awe seized all the gods as they gazed.
But Athena sprang quickly from the immortal head
and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis,
shaking a sharp spear: great Olympus began to reel horribly
at the might of the bright-eyed Goddess,
and earth round about cried fearfully,
and the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves,
while foam burst forth suddenly:
the bright Son of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athena had stripped the heavenly armour from her immortal shoulders.
And wise Zeus was glad.
And so hail to you, daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis!
Now I will remember you and another song as well.
~Homeric Hymn #28 to Athena
Daughter of aegis-bearing Jove, divine,
Propitious to thy vot’ries prayer incline;
From thy great father’s fount supremely bright,
Like fire resounding, leaping into light.
Shield-bearing goddess, hear, to whom belong
A manly mind, and power to tame the strong!
Oh, sprung from matchless might, with joyful mind
Accept this hymn; benevolent and kind!
The holy gates of wisdom by thy hand
Are wide unfolded; and the daring band
Of earth-born giants, that in impious fight
Strove with thy sire, were vanquish’d by thy might.
Once by thy care, as sacred poets sing,
The heart of Bacchus, swiftly-slaughter’d king,
Was sav’d in aether, when, with fury fir’d,
The Titans fell against his life conspir’d;
And with relentless rage and thirst for gore,
Their hands his members into fragments tore:
But ever watchful of thy father’s will,
Thy pow’r preserv’d him from succeeding ill,
Till from the secret counsels of his sire,
And born from Semele through heav’nly fire,
Great Dionysius to the world at length
Again appear’d with renovated strength.
Once, too, thy warlike axe, with matchless sway,
Lopp’d from their savage necks the heads away
Of furious beasts, and thus the pests destroy’d
Which long all-seeing Hecate annoy’d.
By thee benevolent great Juno’s might
Was rous’d, to furnish mortals with delight:
And through life’s wide and various range ’tis thine
Each part to beautify with arts divine:
Invigorated hence by thee, we find
A demiurgic impulse in the mind.
Towers proudly rais’d, and for protection strong,
To thee, dread guardian, deity belong,
As proper symbols of th’exalted height
Thy series claims amidst the courts of light.
Lands are belov’d by thee to learning prone,
And Athens, O Athena, is thy own!
Great goddess, hear! and on my dark’ned mind
Pour thy pure light in measure unconfin’d;
– That sacred light, O all-protecting queen,
Which beams eternal from thy face serene:
My soul, while wand’ring on the earth, inspire
With thy own blessed and impulsive fire;
And from thy fables, mystic and divine,
Give all her powers with holy light to shine.
Give love, give wisdom, and a power to love,
Incessant tending to the realms above;
Such as, unconscious of base earth’s control,
Gently attracts the vice-subduing soul;
From night’s dark region aids her to retire,
And once more gain the palace of her sire:
And if on me some just misfortune press,
Remove th’affliction, and thy suppliant bless.
All-Saving goddess, to my prayer incline!
Nor let those horrid punishments be mine
Which guilty souls in Tartarus confine,
With fetters fast’ned to its brazen floors,
And lock’d by hell’s tremendous iron doors.
Hear me, and save (for power is all thy own)
A soul desirous to be thine alone.
~Proclus’ Hymn to Athena
Only-begotten, noble race of Jove,
Blessed and fierce, who joyest in caves to rove:
O, warlike Pallas, whose illustrious kind,
Ineffable and effable we find:
Magnanimous and famed, the rocky height,
And groves, and shady mountains thee delight:
In arms rejoicing, who with Furies dire
And wild, the souls of mortals dost inspire.
Gymnastic virgin of terrific mind,
Dire Gorgon’s bane, unmarried, blessed, kind:
Mother of arts, impetuous; understood,
Rage to the wicked, wisdom to the good:
Female and male, the arts of war are thine,
Fanatic, much-formed dragoness, divine:
Over the Phlegrean giants, roused to ire,
Thy coursers driving, with destruction dire.
Sprung from the head of Jove, of splendid mien,
Purger of evils, all-victorious queen.
Hear me, O Goddess, when to thee I pray,
With supplicating voice both night and day,
And in my latest hour, give peace and health,
Propitious times, and necessary wealth,
And, ever present, be thy votaries aid,
O, much implored, art’s parent, blue-eyed maid.
~Orphic Hymn to Pallas Athena
Pindar, Olympian Ode 14. 1 ff (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
“Whose haunts are by Kephissos’ (Cephisus’) river, you queens beloved of poets’ song, ruling Orkhomenos (Orchomenus), that sunlit city and land of lovely steeds, watch and ward of the ancient Minyan race, hear now my prayer, you Kharites (Charites, Graces) three. For in your gift are all our mortal joys, and every sweet thing, be it wisdom, beauty, or glory, that makes rich the soul of man. Nor even can the immortal gods order at their behest the dance and festals, lacking the Kharites’ aid; who are the steward of all rites of heaven, whose thrones are set at Pytho beside Apollon of the golden bow, and who with everlasting honour worship the Father, lord of great Olympos.
Euphrosyne, lover of song, and Aglaia (Aglaea) revered, daughters of Zeus the all-highest, hearken, and with Thalia, darling of harmony, look on our songs of revel, on light feet stepping to grace this happy hour . . . I come to praise Asopikhos (Asopichus), whose Minyan house, Thalia, now of your favour wears the pride of the Olympian victor.”
Orphic Hymn 60 to the Charites (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
“To the Kharites (Charites, Graces), Fumigation from Storax. Hear me, illustrious Kharites, mighty named, from Zeus descended, and Eunomia famed, Thalia and Aglaia (Aglaea) fair and bright, and blest Euphrosyne, whom joys delight: mothers of mirth; all lovely to the view, pleasure abundant, pure, belongs to you: various, for ever flourishing and fair, desired by mortals, much invoked in prayer; circling, dark-eyed, delightful to mankind, come, and you mystics’ bless with bounteous mind.”
7. FINAL LIBATIONS
“O Athene and Kharites, I offer thanks to you.”
(pour libation into libation bowl)
“And for Hestia, as yours is always the first and last.”
(pour libation to Hestia into libation bowl).